How civic tech can steer development and create smarter cities

More importantly, what makes them “smart”? Convenience is one thing, but there’s a big difference between data and wisdom, between the information gathered by smart cameras and the vision of lifelong citizens. That’s why a new raft of technological advancements being adapted for cities can be so transformative.

Over the last decade, programs like Code for America and Startup in Residence have become incubators that help civic-minded techies find ways to digitize, and demystify, local government. Successful case studies have saved cities money and made strong cases for increased investment in better tech. In California, Sen. Kamala Harris recently proposed a plan to invest $15 million annually in tech for local government.

Here are a few examples of how cities have used technology to shape development and improve neighborhoods.